cotorra serrana, cotorra-serrana occidental
© 1990 James Flynn
The Thick-billed parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha) is a medium sized parrot with bright green feathers covering most of its body with the exception of red patches on the bend of the wings, the lower thighs, the forehead and eyebrow. During flight a yellow patch of feathers is visible under the wing. The beak is black and the legs and feet are gray.
As with many other parrot species, thick-billed parrots are social birds, living together in flocks all year. Within the flock there is a particular "pecking order" and rules each parrot must follow. Thick-billed parrots are quite noisy, but communication is important to establish order and to warn if a predator has been spotted
They prefer high mountain pine-oak forests due to their food requirements.
These parrots are currently found only on the mountains of Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico. At one time they were found in south central and southeastern Arizona, but no longer.
Thick-billed parrots are an endangered species and are therefore covered by the US Endangered Species Act.
These parrots feed mainly on pine seeds that are found by tearing open pinecones. They will eat other foods such as acorns and flower buds, but pine seeds are their preferred food.
Predators include many birds of prey such as the goshawk, red-tailed hawk, peregrine falcon as well as the ringtail.
Because they are cavity nesters, bonded pairs find a nest cavity high in an old-growth pine tree. If it does not meet their needs they will begin to modify the cavity using their beak and feet chewing and spiting or kicking out pieces of wood.
It is estimated they live 30-40 years in the wild and longer in captivity.
They are 15-16.6 inches long, with a wingspan of 32 inches and a weight of up to 15 ounces.
Male and female thick-billed parrots look identical both in size and color.
The only other parrot species native to the United States, besides the Thick-billed parrot was the Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis), which became extinct in 1918.